Polanco’s hitting coach on what he’s working on in Triple-A
By Josh Jackson / MiLB.com
It’s not an easy concept to wrap your head around, but Gregory Polanco still has more to learn in Triple-A ball.
True, as of May 14, the guy leads the International League in batting average (.373) and on-base percentage (.440), as well as triples (five) and runs scored (28). He’s also endured a few cold streaks this year, but none of them have lasted long.
“The consistency is part of his game, and so the results are consistent. He has a consistent, steady, everyday work ethic. We work with him before, after and during games on things very specific to his game and his swing,” said Indianapolis hitting coach Mike Pagliarulo, who played from 1984-95 in the big leagues.
“He’s a very coachable kid. I say one thing and he does it immediately. He’s very easy to work with, and all of the coaches he’s worked with [agree]. We don’t like to overload anybody, but if his swing is going [away from where it should], he’s able to get back to his game immediately.”
Still, Pagliarulo insists there are plenty of other areas in which the Pirates’ top prospect needs to continue to develop.
“There are lots of things we need to work on. He’s still improving on defense. He hasn’t seen balls hit at him this hard. He’s learning to play balls right,” Pagliarulo said.
There are even ways Polanco’s offensive game could grow more in Triple-A before he can make the biggest possible impact in the Majors.
“He can be a great danger on the basepaths. He’s a big, giant guy, and with speed like that, you can make the defense anxious,” Pagliarulo said. “From my day, I think of Don Baylor.
“When those guys are coming into second base hard, it’s like, ‘Holy moly!’ That puts a lot of pressure on the defense to get rid of the ball. You want those guys to be intimidating. Whenever those guys are on base, that can be a great weapon for you.”
None of this is to say Pagliarulo has any concerns about the pace of Polanco’s development as a complete player.
“In the Minors,” he said, “what you want is to make sure he’s making adjustments, which he is.”